Monday, December 30, 2013


Hey Family!

It was so good to see y'all on Christmas too.  Y'all definitely made my day and I loved seeing your bright and shining faces.  :)  thank you for being such an awesome family.  And I'm glad y'all liked the package I sent home.  Haha Mom, I'm glad I only have one Christmas away too.  I'm not gonna lie, I loved the days leading up to Christmas and getting to share so many messages about Christ with everyone but then after Christmas was over I just had no desire to do anything.  It didn't help that it rained practically all weekend and all I wanted to do was go home and crawl back in bed.  But hey the desire to keep going is back and I'm ready to work hard during this year.

Goodness gracious the craziest thing from the past week was yesterday.  During the 3rd hour of church Bishop Elmer had a combined lesson and he talked.  Seriously he's talked the last couple fifth sundays and in sacrament meeting a couple times on missionary work so the members are probably sick of it.  But yesterday he said that for 2014 our ward is gonna have a goal of 25 baptisms.  As far as I know we've only had two baptisms this whole year...but in 2011 they had 23 baptisms.  At first I was just thinkin man this is never gonna happen.  But ya know, when you trust in Heavenly Father he can make anything happen.  He challenged every person to invite someone to listen to the missionaries and he's constantly focusing on inviting others.  Covington Ward is part of the New Orleans Stake so our goal is to make a stake up here so we don't have to drive all the way across the causeway.  I think our bishop is inspired and knows what he's doing so it's pretty sweet to see how he's pushing to hasten the work of the Lord.  Now the members are just gonna have to step up so we have tons of people to teach!

But going along with that I think the true miracle from the week was yesterday we got to share the restoration with our investigator Orisia.  Let's just say we've been visiting her about every single week since I first got here but she talks a ton and we never get a chance to share a lesson before she kicks us out.  It was definitely a sweet experience because she already knew most of the restoration and about the Book of Mormon but we were able to clear up some questions she had and the spirit was definitely there.  We're going down to New Orleans with her next monday to go to some thrift stores...haha she's the one that got us hooked on shopping at the thrift stores.  Goodness I just love her!  She's a chinese medicine doctor and kinda crazy, but hey I love crazy people.  :)

Mom, don't worry I don't need a coat or anything.  Thank you for thinking about me!  Haha and I wish I could've heard your talk yesterday.  I bet ya did great!  I'm sure y'all are glad I didn't call you at 5:30 in the morning like McKenzie did.  I remember she did that last year too and I was really considering doing it to wake y'all up but then decided to opt out.

The week was a pretty good week overall, here's just a couple of the highlights:

Monday- Pulled our couch outside and played Life with the Covington Elders in the driveway of our apartment.  Haha our neighbors thought we were crazy and it was freezing but it was fun!

Tuesday- Made tons of cookies at Joy's house and then went caroling with the Elders and gave them to some people we knew and some random people with wrapped copies of the Book of Mormon.  Plus we found out Dale passed away...his niece said that on the way to the hospital he asked her to grab the peanut butter cookies we made to bring them!  Goodness he was the sweetest guy.  :)  She mentioned how he always talked about us!  Don't know if she was just being nice of if that's really true considering the fact we'd only met him twice and talked on his porch for maybe 5 minutes total.  But hey I know he's probably already found the missionaries in the spirit world and is listening to them right now.  I'm looking forward to the day when I'll get to see him again.  :)

Wednesday- Got to see y'all!!  Other than that we got to play checkers with the Tapia's and make some cookies.  And then helped the Holbrook's with a puzzle they got for Christmas.  Definitely a good Christmas....I'm thinking a puzzle every Christmas should be a new tradition.  Remember when we'd always go to Little Grandma's and she's be working on puzzles?  By the way be sure to tell her thank you so much for the blanket!  It keeps me warm everynight.  :)

Thursday- Here's a funny story for you.  It didn't happen this week but it happened at the Goff's and we visited them on thursday.  Maria asked us if we wanted an altoid but we told her no thank you we were good.  So this is what she says, "You sure?  These are special altoids...see right here it says they're made with real peppermint oil and the dreams of pregnant mermaids."  Haha I thought it really said that!

Friday- We updated our map since everyones names have fallen off...and we didn't know what else to do!

Saturday- All our plans fell through and we didn't know what else to do.  Perfect timing Sister McMullen called and asked if we could come clean up her house so we got to serve her!  That was just a little tender mercy of the Lord for providing us with something useful to do with our time.  Plus she's the sweetest lady.  Plus we met a new less active family that is willing to let us come back and see them!

Sunday- We finally taught Orisia!! 

Oh yeah and here's one scripture for y'all.  Alma 33:23, "your burdens may be light, through the joy of his Son."  Christ has already suffered for each of us, and he wants us to use the atonement so we can be forgiven!  It makes him happy when we turn to him and he can help us.  And what a blessing that is, that he can lift our burdens and take everything away...all because he loves us.    

Well family, I hope y'all have a good rest of the holidays break.  Enjoy the movie y'all are gonna see today and skiing later.  Thank you for all your prayers! 

Guess what?!   I LOVE YOU!  (I hope that makes you think of Jo:)

Love Always, Sister Schmutz    

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

winter party that is!

Hey Family!
Are you counting down the hours yet until we get to talk?  Haha I'm so excited to see y'all!! 
Alright so here's the plan, sorry it's different than what I told y'all last week.  I hope it's not messing up any plans y'all already had.  The Holbrook's invited us over so we're gonna be there around 4 (that's the time for here).  I hope y'all know someones skype information because they're letting me use their skype account.  So can one of y'all please log on and go add Laurie.holbrook1 before Christmas?  Thank you!  The Holbrook's also invited us for Christmas dinner since we'll already gonna be there so they said we're free to skype until then.  I hope that gives y'all enough time for us to talk!  I'll give y'all a call when we get to their house so you can know when to get on the computer.  I hope that works for y'all...I'm excited to hear and see you!!
I got all your packages!  Thank you so much for sending all of them.  I must say that the tree was the coolest idea ever!  Also the toothbrush y'all sent is the sweetest toothbrush I've ever seen.  Thank you so much for all you do!  Did y'all get the package I sent home?  If not hopefully it'll get there today...and I forgot to write don't open it until Christmas! If you did already that's okay though.  :)   
This past week was a really good week.  For the first time since I've been here we taught 20 lessons which was a real success!  All of them were less active/active members though so now we're gonna start working on finding more investigators and really focusing on the investigators that we do have.  The work is kinda slow here right now but that just means that there's more work for us to do. 
Maybe since there's no snow on the ground, or the fact that it was up in the 80s last week, but it just does not feel like Christmas here!  It's so weird!  Maybe that's why I don't miss home so much right now...  No one invited us over for Christmas eve so during the day we're gonna make cookies and then during the evening we're gonna go caroling and hand out cookies, dvds, and Book of Mormons.  It'll be pretty sweet!  Plus we get to watch Christmas movies!  President Wall said specifically we can watch A Christmas Carol and It's a Wonderful Life but he also said if we're at someone's home and they put on a movie we can use our judgment to watch it.  The Tapia's invited us over Christmas day so hopefully they'll put on Elf or something....that's a good wholesome movie, right?  ;)   
The highlight of the week was our ward Christmas party.  I took a couple pictures but they really don't do any was beautiful!  The only down part was we invited tons of people, and I mean tons of people and not one of them showed up.  But hey it was still a good evening.  We had dinner, read the Cajun Night Before Christmas, Santa was there, and then we had a live nativity.  It was a really good night.  :) 
President Wall has been focusing on helping our mission become a spirit led mission and I found a cool scripture that related to it I wanted to share with y'all.  Aaron was one of the sons of Mosiah and he was a missionary.  But just like every missionary he was going through a little rough patch in his service.  No one would listen to him, he was cast into prison, people rejected him and all sorts of things.  And then it says this, "And they went forth withersoever they were led by the Spirit of the Lord."(Alma 21:16) so they just decided to listen to the spirit and go with it.  Then, "the Lord began to bless them, insomuch that they brought many to the knowledge of the truth." (Alma 21:17) Success doesn't come until we fully trust in the Lord and know that he will guide us to where we need to be.  Pretty cool don't ya think? 
Anyways there isn't much more for me to say...since I'll be talking to y'all on Christmas!  I love y'all!
Love Always, Sister Schmutz 
p.s. if my memory is right it's Whitney's birthday today!  Sarah be sure to wish her warm wishes from me.  :)

Monday, December 16, 2013

merry christmas y'all!

Hey Family!
Well goodness, school is just getting out later and later isn't it.  Don't study too hard this week Andrew and Sarah!  And keep singing Emily!  Our ward Christmas Party is this saturday and they asked all the missionaries to sing a song for part of the program...haha aw man it's not gonna be pretty that's all I gotta say.  When we've been inviting people lately we always mention how we'll be singing so they'll feel bad and want to come.  ;)  but hey I'll take some pictures and send it to you.  We've been helping decorate all week there's snowflakes everywhere and it's gonna look awesome! 
Oh hey and here's some good news!  We get to skype for christmas!!  We've been trying to find somewhere to skype all week but no such luck.  Then last night we had dinner at the Holbrook's and they asked us what we were doing for Christmas and they said we could come use their computers!  So I have no idea what time we'll be skyping and there's no limit on time or anything just like for Mother's Day but I think we'll keep skyping to 30 minutes since we don't want to be bothering them all day and then I can call y'all later if you want.  So I guess I'll just call y'all Christmas morning sometime to give you more details?  Any time work best for y'all?  It'll be probably a little after 10 here or so I'm guessing.  But hey I have no idea what my skype username is or anything like that.  We could possibly use facetime again, but if they only have one ipad or not I'm not sure and Sister Brady already said she wants to facetime instead of skype.  Sooo sorry I'm not a big help and have no clue what's really going on but hopefully I'll let you know next monday a little more details.  These are the phone numbers to call right?  8019433421 8017928837 8018705975
I haven't received the package you sent yet but it'll probably get here today.  I want to send y'all something too so hopefully I can get that sent out today!   Remember when I told y'all about one of our investigators, Orisia?  Well this past week we went and saw her and she gave us both a Christmas present!  So sweet of her and so unexpected!  We now officially have one present under the paper christmas tree that Sister Brady's mom sent.  :)  man I just love this time of year. 
Haha mom since you asked, here's the story about the emergency transfers.  First story is mandeville and covington were going down to New Orleans to play basketball with the missionaries down there one pday.  Another set of elders showed up to go with them so then there were six guys in a five seat car.  Needless to say they drove down with someone in the trunk...president found out....and the elder driving got red dotted which means he can't drive anymore so they transferred him out.  Second story president just had been thinking of moving this elder and he decided to do it in the middle of the transfer...don't really know why he didn't wait a week longer until transfers.
That's pretty sweet what President Mendenhall said yesterday in sacrament meeting.  I think I told y'all this last week but if not I'm gonna tell it to ya again.  We've meet tons of people that hate Christmas down here.  I love just asking people what their favorite thing about Christmas is and seriously tons of people say they hate it.  When we get talking about it more they don't actually hate Christmas, they just hate all the commercial stuff.  Christ is the real meaning of the season and everything else doesn't really matter!  My favorite part about right now is being able to serve others and see how Christ brings the light into their life.  
There's this member that moved here a couple months ago and everythings been going wrong since she came.  She doesn't have lots of money and everything is going terrible so we went and visited her this week.  She was one of those ones that said she hated Christmas.  Well after we left I asked Sister Brady how she felt about getting her a little tree for her apartment because she talked about how she's the only one in her family that likes Christmas trees.  So we went to the dollar store and got a little tree, some decorations, and a few presents to put under.  Decorated it all up and made it look good and that night we left it at her front door.  Haha needless to say she knows it was us but the greatest part is just making someone day so much better.  I mean yes, our apartment doesn't look like Christmas at all and we could've just bought a tree for ourselves, but it doesn't matter because we got to bring the light of Christ into someone's home.  If only she didn't know it was us, then it would have been even better! 
As usual this week has been a super good week.  The miracle of the week was probably hearing that Jolei wants to get baptized!  Alright so here's the story.  The Asevedo's are a less active family that we see quite often.  They are seriously the sweetest!  Leah (mom) and Sarah (12) joined the church maybe three or so years ago.  They live with Leah's mom, Tonya and she's read the Book of Mormon so many times!  (She isn't a member though because she can't get baptized because her boyfriend won't marry her...but that's okay she'll get baptized eventually)  and then Jolei just turned 8.  We've mentioned baptism before but they haven't really said much.  So on monday we went and were talking about the Holy Ghost.  It was perfect timing because Leah was actually there and she immediately said that she wants Jolei to get baptized and Jolei wants to too!  We set a date to work towards for Jan 11!  Even though she's 8 and her mom's a member she's not really an investigator or will be a convert, but we're gonna teach them all the lessons before then.  Now we just gotta get them all coming back to church and we'll be set.  The family is so sweet, I love em!
I think this has become one of my new favorite scriptures, Matt 28:19-20 this is after Christ was resurrected and he was teaching his apostles.  "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen."  Christ is always with us, always.  I'm so grateful for this knowledge and to know that the Savior lives and walks with us everywhere.  Which then makes me think of my all time favorite scripture, Isaiah 41:13 "For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand, saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee."  What a wonderful gift Heavenly Father gave to us! 
Also I found my favorite spot in all of Louisiana yesterday.  The tchefuncta river divides Madisonville and Mandeville and there's tons of sailboats plus some houses are right on the river.  A member lives right there too and it's so pretty!  I didn't have my camera so I couldn't take any pictures but it's beautiful, especially all of the sail on the water.  Don't worry, I'll bring y'all down here sometime soon!  Man I love Louisiana and especially the people down here.   
Anyways, I just wanted to say that I love y'all so much.  I couldn't have asked for a better family! 
Love always, Sister Schmutz

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

happy holidays!

Hey Family!
First and foremost, transfer news...I'm staying in Covington for another transfer with Sister Brady!  I'm happy to be staying especiallly with Christmas coming up in just a couple weeks.  It would definitely be hard going to a new area and not knowing anyone this time of the year.  Our district is all staying the same too which is definitely a first.  Well, then again we've had two emergency transfers in our district this transfer.  So as of now the Mandeville Elders are Elder Caina and Elder Madsen and then the Covington Elders are Elder Stewart and Elder Alred.  We're all ready to work hard this transfer so it's gonna be good.  :) hey and as far as skyping for Christmas goes I think we're just gonna be calling y'all this time.  Pretty much all the members are going out of town for the holidays and the ones we're really close to that we could feel like asking to use their computer, well they don't have computers.  Sooo don't get y'alls hopes up of seeing my face, but hey y'all will still get to hear my voice!   
Holy cow I can't believe how fast time is just flying by.  I'm already on my 8th transfer and there's only 13 transfers total!  I wonder how much longer I'll be in Covington or where I could possibly be going.  I'm begging President Wall to let me go back and reopen North BR...but I don't know if that's gonna happen.  Man I miss everyone there!   
That's awesome to hear it's been snowing a lot back home.  It's been getting pretty cold here lately as well.  It's alot like Utah day it will be up in the 70s or 80s and then the next it will be down in the 40s.  I'm just grateful we have a car!  Plus the humidity just makes it even worse...the cold just goes straight to your bones and freezes ya! 
Goodness gracious family...the missionaries came over and want to teach y'all but you said you were too busy!!  Have I not taught y'all anything?  ;)  when you say you're busy to the missionaries it makes them feel like you don't really want them coming by.  I think it'd be sweet for the missionaries to come over and teach y'all the lessons.  It will build your relationship with them, they'll have something meaningful to do, plus y'all will be learning.  So be sure to make time for them and then let me know how it goes!!
It's been a super sweet week this past week.  We got to help lots of people set of their Christmas trees and I felt right at home.  :)  there's no greater time of year than right now, especially to be on a mission because we get to talk about Christ every single day.  It's sweet we found this 12 reading days of Christmas online so with a couple of the people we see every week we've started doing it with them just to help them think more about the Savior every day.  And it's awesome because some of them have even told us that they don't like Christmas time...but they're forgetting the whole meaning of Christmas!  Y'all should do it too.  Go here and then download the whole ensign and scroll to where the 12 reading days of Christmas are. 
I'm gonna go buy a camera today because mine broke and then I'll send y'all some pictures for Christmas and I'll tell ya about some of my favorite people here.  They always give me more than I give to man I love some of the sisters here so much! 
The best part of the week was on saturday Alberto got baptized!!  The elders have been teaching him forever, and let me just say they are the cutest family ever.  His wife is a member and they have the cutest little boy.  Alberto's been coming to church forever and what not but never wanted to get baptized.  Tons and tons of missionaries have invited him and finally he decided to get baptized so it was real sweet.  I'm happy for their family.  :) 
Haha I think this might have to be the highlight from the week.  Saturday night we were driving and I made the wrong turn.  As missionaries we always have to back each other so our goal is to always find a place we can just turn around without having to back.  So I turned down a street and there was this grassy field on one side so ya know I decided to just drive in the grass a little.  Haha well....turns out it was super muddy and we got our car stuck in the mud.  I had Sister Brady get out and try to push the car out but it was stuck for good.  Let me just was real muddy.  I got out and was just walking in the mud without any shoes on and it was a big mess.  We called the Elders to see if they were nearby but they were all busy and would be for a while.  Haha man I thought we were gonna have to walk home and come try to get it out the next day.  Then this guy stopped and asked if we were stuck so we said yep and he said he'd be right back.  He went and got a rope and then he pulled us out!  Haha man it was funny and now our car is completely covered in mud.  Good times I tell ya...good times.
Since it's the Christmas season, here's a one of my favorite scriptures about Christ.  Alma 7:10-13 "And behold, he shall be born of Mary, at Jerusalem which is the land of our forefathers, she being a virgin, a precious and chosen vessel, who shall be overshadowed and conceive by the power of the Holy Ghost, and bring forth a son, yea, even the Son of God.  And he shall go forth, suffering pains and afflictions and temptations of every kind; and this that the word might be fulfilled which saith he will take upon him the pains and the sicknesses of his people.  And he will take upon him death, that he may loose the bands of death which bind his people; and he will take upon him their infirmities, that his bowels may be filled with mercy, according to the flesh, that he may know according to the flesh how to succor his people according to their infirmities.  Now the Spirit knoweth all things; nevertheless the Son of God suffereth according to the flesh that he might take upon him the sins of his people, that he might blot out their transgressions according to the power of his deliverance; and now behold, this is the testimony which is in me."  My favorite part is where it says he will take upon himself their weaknesses and he does all this so that he can know how to help us.  I'm so grateful for the birth of the Savior and all that he did for us while he was here on the earth, and all that he still does for us.  Without Christ it would be hard to do much because he makes everything possible.  I know that Jesus Christ lives and loves each of us!  And what a wonderful present our Heavenly Father gave to us...his Son.  
Hope y'all have a wonderful week!  Good luck with finals, Sarah and Andrew!   
Love y'all! 
Sister Schmutz

Monday, December 2, 2013

it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas!

Hey Family!
Looks like y'all had quite the good time down in California for Thanksgiving!  Dinner on the beach, lots of soccer games, and exotic birds at your hotel...doesn't seem like it could get much better than that!  Aw man thanksgiving is just the best, I love this time of the year.  For thanksgiving dinner it was all six of the missionaries and then six total Conlin's at their house because a couple of their kids were away at school and what not.  The food was super good too!  The only new thing was fried turkey and it was delicious!  When you fry a turkey it makes it so it's not dry so it was just real good.
Holy cow this week has been full of miracles (little ones and real big ones), truly amazing!  So here's a couple of them for y'all:
#1  Monday: We went to the thrift store and I found this awesome skirt.  Navy blue with white polkadots plus it was only 3 dollars.  It was a little too big but nothing a safety pin can't fix.  Doesn't get much better than that!  Haha I might have worn it almost every day this week...  
#2 Tuesday: We were seeing some people down in Mandeville and we had this less active member on our list to try to see.  We've been trying to meet her for weeks and she never is home so we had no idea if she actually even lived there or what.  So we just stopped by kinda just expecting Mary not to answer because she never has before.  But low and behold she was home and even let us come in!  We got to know her and discovered she's been having a hard time lately because a couple of her relatives passed away last month and then her husband had a stroke and he isn't able to talk right now.  We didn't go into much detail because you could tell she didn't want to talk about it and she was crying a little bit.  I didn't know what to share with her because I wanted to bring comfort so bad, but then Sister Brady just started sharing the thanksgiving thought we had planned for her.  It was amazing because she said it was exactly what she needed to hear!  And then she told us how her friend invited her over tonight but she just felt like she needed to stay home so she did.  And then we came by and shared a message that was exactly what she needed.  Holy cow is all I have to was a miracle!  We have plans to see her again later this week and I'm so excited!!
#3 Wednesday: We always see one of the single sisters in our ward so this past week we stopped by like usual and all her family was home.  Pearl's daughter Vicki was home and was just sitting there while we were talking to Pearl.  (her daughter is a member but less active..she hasn't seemed too interested in the past seeing her) so it was kinda awkward because she was just doing stuff on her phone while we were talking to Pearl and we didn't know what to do so we started sharing the lesson we had planned.  I didn't even think Vicki was listening but after I said something she turned and actually talked about the gospel and was involved in the lesson!  We were able to talk with her more and actually relate to her which was so cool.  I'm hoping she'll be back next time we see her so we can start getting her more involved!
#4 Thursday: A couple weeks ago we were trying to visit some less active members that we didn't know and see how interested they are and meet them.  So there was this one sister that Sister Brady said they'd been trying to see forever but no one ever answered.  So we stopped by and her husband Dale answered..and let me just say, he's the sweetest guy I've ever met.  He told us that his wife died about seven years ago in a car accident.  And of course me being me, I didn't say anything about the plan of salvation or what not and we apologized for his loss then left.  For the next week and a half he'd been on my mind constantly.  I knew we needed to go back and somehow share the gospel with him but I just didn't know what to do.  He lives out in the middle of nowhere just by himself and he has no family children, nothing (he's probably in his 50s or 60s).  So I was thinking and President Wall asked us to be ODD missionaries, meaning observe, discern, do.  We had interviews on Wednesday and he said I've got the observe and discern part down I've just gotta do it.  So I just decided ya know what, this could be super awkward but we're gonna make him cookies and bring them to him on thanksgiving to just let him know we've been thinking about him and maybe somehow talk about the gospel.  So we made peanut butter cookies because it was the only ingredients we had and then we drove all the way out there.  He was home and super surprised to see us and it was kinda awkward.  It was cold and he invited us in but there wasn't a woman in the home so we couldn't go in.  We didn't really know what to say and I have this bad habbit of asking people how they are a billion times when I don't know what to say.  So we talked with him for a second and I asked him again and he mentioned to us how he thinks he has cancer again.  He had cancer a long time ago that prevented them from having children and then he had melanoma cancer last year and he believes he has it again.  Oh my goodness, I can't even tell you how bad I wanted to just forget all the rules and go into his home and just talk with him.  I feel like meeting him is the reason I've been called to serve in Covington.  I'm learning to rely on the spirit more and more because I seriously love Dale and want to help him, but I have no idea which direction to take or what to do.  We're planning on going back out with the Elders this week and then hopefully soon we'll bring a sister with us as well.  He is the absolute sweetest guy ever!  So please keep him in your prayers.  :)
There's a lot more miracles from every single day but those were definitely the highlights from the week. 
Mom thank you so much for the're the best!  Seriously I can't believe how fast this transfer has flown by.  It's already transfers again next week!  I asked President on Wednesday what he thinks is gonna happen and he said I'm probably staying in Covington...but that's always bound to change.  I'll be letting y'all know next week though for sure. 
 Sarah..goodness Nik sent me a package the last day he was on his mission!  Man, and I thought he was slacking off at writing back.  He's a good guy.  :)  he sent a Duck Dynasty shirt and said to send you a picture and I was going to but then discovered my camera broke.  Don't worry I'm gonna go buy one at Target today.  And then I'll be sending you a picture.  It was funny because I read his letter and didn't even look at the shirt until the very end.  In his letter he said something along the lines of "your family loves you, I love ya, and my family loves you.  family first."  It's hit me lately how important family truly is and how family should always be first.  And then I opened the shirt and it said family first on it.  Be sure to tell him thank you for reminding me how much my family means to me.  :)  hmmm and for spring semester I'd move over to the new complex...or the willows! 
Well, here's a question for y'all...what do you want for Christmas?  :)  All I can think to ask for is a collage of pictures from the last year!
I love y'all so much!  Each and every one of you.  That means you Mom, Dad, Andrew, Sarah, and Emily!  Also Lucy, Tye, and Moema.  :)
Love Always, Sister Schmutz

Monday, November 25, 2013

happy thanksgiving!

Hey Family!
You are very welcome for the birthday card Mom!  It was definitely hard coming up with 29 memories I could write down in a sentence for you.  I'm glad you thought they were funny too because while I was writing it I didn't think you'd think any were funny!  Thank you for all the memories Mom, I think you're wonderful!  Also thank you for accepting the challenge I gave to y'all last week...I didn't think anyone actually did anything I asked!  Mom always listens.  :)
Sarah, aw man I love you!  Thank you for always emailing me and sending those pictures.  Man you got to see Sister LaPorte, Sister Andrade, and Sister Olden!  I love those three so stinkin much.  Goodness I can't believe all three of them are going home this week.  I don't know where all the time keeps flying by to.  I've already hit the halfway mark of my mission and it keeps going by faster and faster, I hate it!  How was Nik's homecoming?  Haha mom didn't say much about it because she said you would, but then you didn't say much about it either.  Are you going down to California with the fam for thanksgiving as well?  Have I mentioned lately that you're amazing? Because you are!!  Hmm and I'm gonna say just leave the box for now, if you feel inspired to take it over then do it, but otherwise don't. 
Congrats on being accepted to Utah State, Em!  Mom says you feel like you won't be accepted to BYU which I just have to say is completely wrong.  I believe you'll totally get in!  (after all you're a genius..:)) And hey don't forget to apply to BYU-I, you can always come party up there with me and Sarah.  My best advice is to just pray about it and do what you feel is right, don't just follow everyone else because it's the easy thing.  In high school BYU-I was the last school I wanted to go to and honestly I wanted to go to any school but there, but when we were up there after that road trip I just knew immediately that it was where I needed to be.  I loved it there because of the standards everyone has and the small town feel in the middle of nowhere, and lots of other reasons...  You'll do great wherever you decide to go.  :)
So are y'all gonna have thanksgiving dinner on the beach like we did last year?  You'll have to send me some pictures and tell me how your trip turns out to be.  :)  We're gonna be going up to Bush and eating with the Conlins.  I'm super excited for thanksgiving, there's going to be tons of people and we're gonna be out in the middle of nowhere.  I wonder if thanksgiving dinner will be a lot different down here than the traditional ones.  I hear lots of people fry their turkey!  I'll tell y'all next week how our thanksgiving feast turns out! 
Since it's thanksgiving this week we've just been sharing lots of thanksgiving messages with everyone and a question I love asking everyone is, if I ask what you're grateful for what's the first thing that comes to mind?  I was thinking about that a lot throughout the week and focusing on gratitude in my prayers and honestly one of the first things that comes to mind lately is the Book of Mormon (don't worry, I'm super grateful for y'all too ;))  I'm grateful for the Book of Mormon because of the power that it contains and the peace that comes from reading everyday.  Of course there's days when I just don't want to read at all and I'm tired of reading all the war chapters, but somehow it relates to life.  If we just keep pressing on and keep going everything gets better.  The greatest blessing from reading is how all my problems seems to just vanish.  My trials and troubles disappear and I'm just happy.  I don't even know how to explain it, but the Book of Mormon is amazing.  The messages it contains are inspired and truly we can come closer to Christ by reading from it daily. 
We got to go on exchanges this week as well so I went up to Amite with Sister Maxfield and I learned so much from her.  She came out the same time I did and she's been serving in the same area the whole time she's been here.  It's just a small little town too.  We learned how to cut a hole in the wall to put windows in and just got to see tons of little miracles.  On exchanges we always come up with goals to work on during the exchange and her goal was to make it happen!  And that's kinda just become my goal lately...make it happen...and if I lead others will follow.  I feel like I've got to step up to my plate more and become more diligent.   
I love everyone here in Covington, especially the single sisters we get to visit weekly.  Seriously they are all the absolute sweetest and I think I'm learning more from them everyday then I'm teaching them.  I love being able to learn to love others and step in Christ's footsteps even if only for a little bit, to see things from his eyes.
Here's a quick scripture y'all can think about this week.  It's just a little part of Alma 7:15 "show unto your God that ye are willing to repent of your sins and enter into a covenant with him."  It reminded me of a relief society lesson we had back in BR.  Somehow we were talking about all the different love languages (touch, words of affirmation, quality time, etc.) I can't remember all of them.  But someone mentioned how Heavenly Father has a love language as well.  And the scritpure shows it perfectly.  He doesn't want us to tell him that we love him, he wants us to SHOW him we love Him.  And we show hime we love him by our actions.  So in other words, keeping the commandments, going to church, reading the scriptures, all the physical things we need to do.  So here's the real question to think are you showing God you love him?
My dear family, I think y'all are amazing!  Be safe in you holiday travels and don't forget to thank the Lord.  Oh hey and before I forget, the word thanksgiving is defined as thanks go God.  I thought that was pretty cool.  So here's a challenge for y'all, to live in thanksgiving daily! 
well, I LOVE y'all!
Love Always, Sister Schmutz    

Monday, November 18, 2013

happy birthday mamacita!

Mom!  It's your birthday this Saturday and you didn't even remind me like you did for Emily's birthday, what were you thinking?  ;)  I guess it was the real test of whether I'd actually remember your birthday or not.  Luckily I was looking at a calendar the other day and it hit me that I need to tell you happy birthday today otherwise it will be too late!  So, my dear mother, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!  Thank you for being the wonderful example you are to me and for all the sacrifices you put up with for me personally.  I love you bunches.  :)  I'll try to get a card to arrive exactly on Saturday so be sure to check the mail! 
Sarah, I must say that I love your skirt in the picture you sent!  Haha and your boots...:)  the blog looks sweet so thanks and you're welcome to do anything you want with it.  Holy cow and Lucy is getting so big, she won't even be a puppy by the time I get home.  Where even is the dog shelter up in Rexburg?  So how's school and classes all going?  Before you know it the semester will already be done!  I wrote Andrew a letter the other week and since he's postponing the isys program for a year to do premed then that means he graduates the same year as you, right?  That's so weird to think about!  I have no idea what I want to do as far as a career goes but luckily I still got a little time.  ;) something I've learned on my mission though is I absolutely love old people.  They're hilarious and share the same stories over and over again but they're the sweetest!  So who knows, maybe I'll find something to do with them.  Be sure to tell Nik I say hey to him!  Hey and asked him why he stopped writing to me.  We were sharing some cool mission experiences with eachother and then he just stopped responding...or maybe I forgot to respond.
Dad I will definitely find the time to narrate the photos like Andrew did so y'all can see and know some of the awesome people I've met down here.  Hey and while I'm thinking about it, transfers is on Dec 11 and I know Christmas is coming up so please don't send anything before then and wait until I tell you if I'm being transferred because if I am I won't have enough room to take everything with me that y'all send.  thank you!!
Emily and Andrew, don't stay too busy with school!  I love y'all.  :)
This week has been real good.  We were able to teach the most lessons we've ever taught here in Covington and do tons of service as well so it was really sweet.  It's been a while since I've wrote a couple miracles so here's some for y'all.
miracle numero uno: We helped Sister Tapia practically the majority of the day wednesday set up tons of decorations for the eagle court of honor that evening.  Holy cow let's just say the cultural hall looked amazing!  I should've taken pictures so y'all could see but unfortunately I didn't.  We always get to help Sister Tapia with little things she needs help with and I love the opportunity to serve her because she's so grateful!   
miracle numero dos:  Way back forever ago President Wall really emphasized using pamphlets in every teaching appointment.  Of course we've studied them and found different ways to use them and it's been cool using them, but this week it was a miracle using them.  We wanted to teach Pearl about repentance and let's just say Pearl could talk for hours and hours on end.  She's one of the single sisters we get to visit and I love her so much!!  Haha she always tells the same stories over and over again and has such a negative outlook on life but she's so funny.  We've tried everything to get her to pay attention but nothings seemed to work.  She talks right through the mormon messages, won't pay attention when we just read a scripture, and with scripture stories she keeps on talking.  So this past week we decided to read just the part of repentance from the pamphlet.  She read it and didn't get distracted (well she still did but not as bad), and then we asked her to read it again and strive to repent daily.  When we saw her on Sunday she said she's read it a couple times and loves it!!  It's a miracle I tell ya. 
miracle numero tres:  Yesterday we went up to Folsom because we had a dinner appointment way up there so we decided to see some less actives up there as well.  In the whole time I've been here we've only been up to Bush once, but never to Folsom.  (Those two are the two small towns way out on the edge of our ward boundary) all I can say is the people are so nice up there!  Every single person we met was so friendly and let us come in, it was the absolute best!  It was gorgeous up there too.  If I wanted to live out in the country I'd definitely move there.  The whole town of Folsom only has two stop lights too, so crazy!! 
miracle numero cuatro: Since the Covington Elders are on bikes it's our job to visit the less active members that they can't reach.  So we've been going through all the members with an address in Covington or Abita and visiting them even if they're single guys, because usually we just go for the single ladies.  Well we met this one guy this week and he was super nice.  Said he stopped going to church back in college, his wife isn't a member and they have one little girl and another on the way.  They asked us if we wanted to share a lesson so of course we said yes and pulled out a quick scripture.  (first of all that never happens!  usually people just want us to leave)  And then they asked us when we can come back!  I can see real potential with Jeremy coming back to church and potentially Sarah joining the church as well.  So excited! 
I absolutely love it here in Louisiana and love the people here.  We always joke that all the crazy ones somehow end up in Louisiana, but hey that means we're crazy as well because we're here!  I love seeing how the gospel completely changes people and how the simple steps of showing someone you care about them will change everything.  Of course we have our hard days, but those days are what makes the good days so much better. 
Also here's a challenge for y'all.  In Preach My Gospel it says, "As your understanding of the Atonement of Jesus Christ grows, your desire to share the gospel will increase."  I was thinking a lot about that and how it can relate to member missionary work.  The first thing that came to mind was the story of Alma the younger and the sons of Mosiah.  Of course we all know their conversion story where they went about persecuting the church and then an angel appeared unto them and told them to stop, they repented, and completely changed.  Of this experience Alma says, "My soul hath been redeemed from the gall of bitterness and bonds of iniquity.  I was in the darkest abyss; but now I behold the marvelous light of God.  My soul was racked with eternal torment; but I am snatched, and my soul is pained no more." (Mosiah 27:29)  he was able to truly understand the atonement because he had to use it.  And then it goes on to say, " Now it came to pass that after the sons of Mosiah had done all these things, they took a small number with them and returned to their father, the king, and desired of him that he would grant unto them that they might, with these whom they had selected, go up to the land of Nephi that they might preach the things which they had heard, and that they might impart the word of God to their brethren, the Lamanites- That perhaps they might bring them to the knowledge of the Lord their God." (Mosiah 28:1-2)  When Alma and the sons of Mosiah understood the atonement better they wanted to share it with everyone and that's exactly what they did!  So I just encourage y'all to study, pray, and apply the atonement to your life so y'all can have this great desire to share it with everyone.   
Thank you for all y'all do!  I look up to each of your examples.  And guess what?!  I love y'all.  :) 
Love Always, Sister Schmutz     

Monday, November 11, 2013

families are forever!

Hey Family!
Mom, holy cow I can't believe you're the new mia maids advisor!  I was just thinking about that the other day and how you've practically never had a calling in young womens.  And now here ya got one!  You're gonna love it and the girls so much so cherish every moment.  My favorite people to work with back in Baton Rouge were the young women.  One thing I learned from them was to be sure to go to girls camp and all the activities because some of their leaders didn't go and they hated it because of that.  Just love them like you do and of course they'll love you back!  We haven't really worked much with the young women here but we've been invited to their activity this wednesday and I'm super excited. 
I'm glad you liked the random photo of Sister Brady and I as well!  On friday we had ZTM in Hammond (just a meeting we have with the whole zone once a month) and Sister Matkins, one of the senior couples was just taking pictures with her ipad and asked if we wanted to send it to anyone so of course I gave her your email.      
Emily!  How was your birthday?  Haha I hear you liked the card I sent to you.  It was fun to make and write the random 18 memories!  Were you able to remember all of the memories?  Aw man thanks for being such an amazing sister.  I love you!! 

Dad that's a sweet idea of inviting the missionaries to come into your homes and teach the active members all missionary lessons as if you are investigators.  And then the promise that when you receive the lessons names will come into your mind of people with which you can share the gospel.  Maybe we'll have to try the same thing!  With less actives a lot of the time we ask them if we can just teach them the missionary lessons for "practice" and of course they always say yes.  That would be awesome to do with active members as well so we can have more appointments and see more people.  It's hard being out in winter because no one answers their door and we don't have much to do in the last hours of the evening.  My favorite talk from conference was Elder Ballard and how he encouraged everyone to reach out to one person before Christmas.  He didn't ask us to reach out and share the gospel of invite them to hear the missionaries, he invited everyone to reach out and love them which is where everything begins! 
Sarah!  Don't worry about the blog...I'm not sure if anyone even reads it so you probably don't even need to take much time putting anything on it.  Sounds like you've had quite the eventful weekends.  How's Whitney and Dee doing?  Be sure to send em my love!  You'll have to send me some pictures when you go to the animal shelter!  Haha I don't know what it is but all dogs love me down here.  We see this one old lady named Virginia usually about once a week or so and she has these two really old dogs.  So of course I always pet them when we come over and as soon as I stop they both go fall asleep and sleep for hours.  She says it never happens unless I pet them.  Haha it's the weirdest thing!  So Nik comes home real soon, like next week!  Are you excited?  I told Sister Andrade that I told you to go find her with Nik so she said she'll be looking for someone that looks like me.  :)  hey and I have something for you to try.  Go to walmart and to the hispanic section (usually by the asian section ;) and there's this drink in a tall rectangular green plastic bottle called aloe something or other.  Buy it and put it in the fridge (only drink when me) and tell me what you think.  It's really interesting with chunks of slimy aloe or something but it's so good!   
And Andrew..keep up the good work with school!  I send ya a letter last week, were you able to get it?  Love you!

This week was a really good week.  I've seen the hand of the Lord in everything that we do and I'm so grateful for this gospel.  I wanted to share an experience with y'all from this past week that's close to my heart but has helped me learn so much and I'm so so grateful for it.  Last month Jed came home from his mission so of course I wrote to him and I was so excited to hear back from him.  Week after week went by and I didn't hear anything so I finally just emailed him and asked what was up.  Last week he emailed me and long story short he said he's dating a girl and we should move on.  I kinda knew it was gonna happen but I was so stinkin mad.  He didn't even give me a chance to explain anything and didn't know anything about my past two years while he's been gone.  I was filled with so much anger, denial, and frustration.  I didn't know what to do because if only I was home none of this would have happened.  While reflecting back during the week I got on my knees and prayed to know what to do, because after all, sometimes Heavenly Father's the only one that will listen.  I told Heavenly Father the desires of my heart and told him how I felt about everything.  And then it hit me that if it's supposed to be, then it will be.  I've never trusted so much in the Lord than at this point and I know for a fact that he has a definite plan for me.  Heavenly Father just listened to all my anger and frustration, but of course, he turned that anger into love and appreciation.  Because of Christ's atonement he was able to take away that anger and fill me with peace, truly an undescribably experience.  Then later in the week I discovered the new mormon message Wrong Roads which made everything make more sense.  I absolutely love that video and have watched it probably thirty times since it's come out.  :)  Heavenly Father lets us go down the roads we sometimes feel is right so that he can show us the way that we need to be going.  He teaches us through everything we go through and that's why we must go through so much.  I started reading more of the New Testament to better understand Christ this week too and he's amazing!  Matt 8:17 "Himself took our infirmities, and bare our sicknesses."  He takes everything upon himself.  I don't regret any of my relationship with Jed because of how much I've learned from him and the experiences we've had.  I'm so grateful for him and will always look to him as a great friend and I'm glad we ended as friends.  I don't know what the future has in store for the both of us but I do know that I'm exactly where I need to be right now.  I'm so grateful for the knowledge that our Heavenly Father knows us better than we know ourselves and he loves us so incredibly much.  We truly are never alone. 

Anyways, here's some funny things from the week.  There's this one road we tend to drive down and the dog that lives on that road pretty much lives in the middle of the street.  Haha for real he's always sitting right there in the middle, I don't know how he hasn't been run over yet!  The next is Sister Brady and I have a curse of people falling asleep on us while we're visiting them.  It's happened twice now!  Maybe it's because neither of us like waking people up so we always try to sneak out but then they wake up and it's just awkward.  And then one of our investigators told us the other day that she once fasted for 30 days.  Holy cow and she's dead serious too, I think she's insane.  When we told the elders that they said, "Does she think she's Jesus?"  Goodness, I can't even imagine. 

And as always, here's a scripture for y'all to think about.  This is when the Lamanite women were taken and the Lamanites thought it was the people of Limhi so they went to war.  Mosiah 20:11 "And it came to pass that the people of Limhi began to drive the Lamanites before them; yet they were not half so numerous as the Lamanites.  But they fought for their lives, and for their wives, and for their children; therefore they exerted themselves and like dragons did they fight."  Even though they were about half in size they did fight strong because of their motives and were able to succeed.  It's something to really think about..what are your motives? 
Thank you for being such an amazing family.  I love y'all so stinkin much!    
Love Always, Sister Schmutz
p.s. I figured it's about time I take a picture!  Sister Brady and I had a picnic down at the lakefront the other day (sorry it's a terrible picture).  It always makes me think of the ocean! 
And the other is all the sisters in our zone.